Trash talk between Draymond, Blazers 'good' for 'softened up' NBA

Trash talk between Draymond, Blazers 'good' for 'softened up' NBA

OAKLAND -- The conversations were spirited, naturally, because they involved Draymond Green’s mouth and a high-stakes basketball game.

Portland Trail Blazers also brought their games, one involving basketball and the other engaging in dialogue.

So it was on, half past high noon on Easter Sunday at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors won the game, 121-109, taking a 1-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference playoff series. That was enough to give them the last word, at least until Game 2 Wednesday night.

All in fun, right?

“It's a game we all love,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. “We come out here and represent our teams, representing our hometowns where everybody's from. And where I'm from, if you talk trash, then I'm going to talk trash to you. It's not disrespectful. We're not talking about nobody's mamas or nothing bad.”

McCollum could talk trash because he scored 41 points, including 27 in a spectacular first half. On several occasions while torching Warriors defenders, he would turn to the bench to shout himself out.

But, of course, Green is not about to miss out on a good opportunity to talk trash. In addition to posting 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and three steals, he also blocked five shots.

Though waving a finger, as Dikembe Mutombo used to do, is outlawed, blocking shots often comes with an earful or trash talk or a mighty bellow of pride. Green specializes in both.

After smashing one of the McCollum’s shots, Green threw a few words at the Blazer. He did the same after soaring to reject a Damian Lillard dunk attempt at the rim.

“We were talking back and forth the entire game,” Green said. “But that's just a part of the game.”

Not only is trash-talk part of the game, its also part of the rite of passage in the NBA. Most everybody does it in some form, whether overt or with careful whisper. It’s never better than when it involves players who know each other well.

“Having a guy like that on the floor, I think it raises the level of the game,” Lillard said of Green. “Because I don't even talk trash, and he was saying so much out there that I had a whole lot to say tonight. I think that's just good for the game.

“I think the league has softened up a lot, and it's not like that. So you've got to have a rough guy like him out there. I think it's necessary. I think their team depends on him to be had that ‘dawg’ out there and to be that person.”

When Green failed to execute a Jordanesque dunk, banging the ball off the back of the rim, McCollum couldn’t help pointing it out to Green or anyone else willing to listen, all while snickering.

“Yeah, he told me I need to do more calf raises,” Green said, laughing. “No, it's mutual respect both ways. We've played those guys last year in the series, but quite a bit over the last four or five years where you kind of know them, they know you.

“But we all know each other off the floor as well. It's not like there's anyone out there being disrespectful towards another. It's fun. You hit a shot, he's talking to us. I hit a shot, I'm talking to them. I miss the dunk, he's telling me I need to do calf raises. It was good back and forth, it makes the game a lot more fun, that's for sure.”

It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him


It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him

OAKLAND -- At a time when the Warriors could use a boost, they’ll get Friday night when Stephen Curry rejoins the lineup as they face the Atlanta Hawks.

The Warriors (53-18) have been shorthanded for two weeks, and still they’ll be without three of their four All-Stars. Curry’s return after a six-game absence, however, will send a jolt of energy through the team and the crowd at Oracle Arena.

The Hawks (21-51), in full rebuild mode, have lost 10 of 13 since the All-Star break, including a 105-90 loss to the Kings on Thursday night in Sacramento before the lightest NBA crowd of the season due to protests in the wake of a police shooting.


Warriors by 9


Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Schroder: Under normal circumstances, this is worthy of attention, but it’s particularly intriguing with Curry making his return. Schroder, who rested Thursday night, is a defensive pest, the type of player whose presence lights a fire under opponents. Not that Curry needs it. He’s downright anxious to get back on the court.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Kevin Durant (R rib cartilage injury), F Draymond Green (pelvic contusion) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Hawks: G Kent Bazemore (R knee bone bruise), F De’Andre Bembry (abdominal strain), G Antonious Cleveland (L ankle surgery rehab), F/C John Collins (L ankle sprain), G Malcolm Delaney (L ankle sprain) and G Jaylen Morris (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Hawks: 2-8.


Sean Wright (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott


The Warriors prevailed in the first of two meetings this season, 114-109 on March 2 in Atlanta. They swept the two-game series last season and are 6-1 against the Hawks in the Steve Kerr era.


DEFENSIVE INTENSITY: Green’s absence robs the Warriors of their best defender and emotional leader. How do they compensate? That’s going to be tough. Expect Jordan Bell (who will start) and Kevon Looney to handle most of the minutes at PF. They’re capable and willing defenders, but neither has Green’s savvy.

THE GIFTS: Though the Warriors, even without a full roster, are much the better team, those circumstances have guaranteed nothing this season. They have a tendency to keep games close by committing costly turnovers. The Hawks are second in forcing turnovers (15.5 per game) and third in points off turnovers (18.2).

THE GUARDS: Curry’s return gives the Warriors a fourth guard, with three PGs (Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Curry) and SG Nick Young. Because Curry and Quinn Cook are capable of playing off the ball, there will be several variations. Any two can be paired as a duo. The coaching staff gets to satisfy its desire to experiment.

Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'


Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'

So here's a story for you:

At 9:25pm on April 16, 2017, The Vertical's Shams Charania sent out the following tweet:

This angered Jordan Bell, who soon thereafter tweeted twice:

So what actually went down? It turns out that former agent Christian Dawkins -- who is a key figure in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball -- may have been responsible.

Bell explained everything to Logan Murdock on the Planet Dubs Podcast.

"I was mad ... I know exactly what happened. One of the agents I met with -- the one who got in trouble. What's his name? Dawkins or whatever. Something like that. When I met with him, he was throwing me shade -- he acted like he didn't know who I was. 

"We had dinner and he's on his phone like not really paying me attention. I'm like, 'Why am I meeting with you?  You're wasting my time.' ... I kid you not, he didn't read over his (research). It had all of the top power forwards, big guys in the draft. And he was like, 'Let's just look at this.'

"And he's looking at it, and he was like, 'Oh! You're Top 3 in everything!' And he started getting excited and I was like, 'I'm cool. I'm done with this meeting.'"

Bell then explained how one of his coaches at Oregon tried to teach Bell a lesson.

The coach wanted Bell to "be a man" and contact all of the agents that he was for sure not going to sign with to let them know.

Bell didn't want to do that because he wanted to announce he was declaring for the draft on his own terms, without any information potentially leaking to the media.

But the Warriors rookie took the coach's advice and texted Dawkins to say he was going in a different direction.

"And I kid you not, like an hour later, I get an (alert) -- I'm upstairs at my coach's house -- 'I hear Jordan Bell declares for (the draft)' and I just started screaming...

"... I feel like I have to go (to the NBA) now ... when that happened, I was like, 'I really want to go back now just to prove him wrong, just to make him lose all credibility."

Bell quickly came to his senses, and at 10am on April 18, 2017, he retweeted the following message:

Interestingly -- the last line of The Vertical's story that broke the news regarding Bell reads:

Bell is projected to be the No. 38 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

The Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell at... No. 38 overall.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller